Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Über Cool and the Ugly Aesthetic

As designers we are no less susceptible to the general pattering and trends as the rest of pop culture. In fact we are often harbingers of these trends. And yet, often, the most interesting trends, have less impact on our work than you would think.

Few would argue that a logo or signage should be very trendy. Most clients would like their company to last beyond the latest fad, or at least to be seen as somewhat stable themselves (ridiculous number of orbit logos to the contrary). This doesn’t mean a logo can’t be fresh and modern, just that ultra trendy designs are usually avoided. (despite this, identities still date themselves and should be updated every ten years, with a more major overhaul at the twenty or thirty year mark) but what about the ephemera we produce? Don’t they lend themselves to being trendy? After all, most brochures only last as long as a trend.

This is true, however it doesn’t mean the latest trend is appropriate to a client. My favorite design trend is one that has been around for five years or so and is completely inappropriate for anything but maybe in advertising dirty looking jeans. Many of my peers would love a chance to do a piece in the ugly aesthetic. But even if you found a client for whom it was appropriate, getting the idea past them, then past their board, is a daunting task. There is nothing harder than trying to get a client (especially one attached to a board) to try something cutting edge.

More on this later.

Also, if anyone knows of examples of extremely mismatched trends and content, let me know. I collect them.